|Site visitor Hauke Reddmann writes from Germany to tell me about this experimental German novel which includes diagrams from category theory. (For those who might not know, category theory is an abstract branch of mathematics which attempts to find the common structure of all mathematics. So, for instance, although you might think that the study of surfaces in geometry and of fields in algebra seem quite different, category theory views them each as the study of some sort of relationship -- functors -- between some sorts of objects whether they are surfaces or fields. I think there are various opinions as to how useful this enterprise has turned out to be, but it certainly has its proponents.)
When I wrote to Reddmann to inquire further about the role of category theory in the book, he sent back this "colorful" description which I suppose gives you an idea of the sort of book this is. (Further evidence of the strangeness of this book can be found by visiting its website here.)
Oh, this will gonna be a pig.
First of all, Dath was chief editor of "Spex", Germans elitarist
pop-leftwing music mag. Which means the whole book can only be
understood in the frame of postmodernist circle-jerk discourse
(pardon my french). And category theory is used as a me-tougher.
(When I'm in despiteful mode my puns are even more brilliant :-)
Things and verbs, you know. Marxism was too much about things
when life is a verb. And category theory is the mathematic
version of a verb. Hey, even Sokal could learn from me when
conjuring up gobbledygook :-)
Anyway. The book has an annex about the fundaments of category
theory, it is dedicated to Grothendieck, but I'd say math
only occurs abused as far-out analogy under poetical license.
John Baez meets Joan Baez meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Hauke Reddmann has written again with information about another book by Dath. It sounds to me as if it is not sufficiently mathematical to justify having its own entry in the database, so I will just include his remarks here for anyone who is interested:
To understand Dath, you have to understand his scene.
It's an ultra-intellectual one, meaning you can and should
be as hermetic as possible. Anyone crying out "LOLWUT?"
automatically disqualifies himself as a doofus.
And what could be more hermetically than math (and which
math could be more hermetic than category theory -
also note the scene is leftist, so Grothendieck is
obvious reference fodder)?
This prelude holds for all his works.
Now to the other novel:
Am blinden Ufer ["On the Blind Shore"]. Eine Geschichte vom Strand und aus den Schnitten
Roman. Berlin: Verbrecher Verlag 2000. Neuauflage: 2009
From the doofus view, the plot reminds a
bit of Schätzings "Swarm". (Don't say that when Dath is
standing near, or he might challenge you for a death duel
with Lacan quotes :-)
The "Schnitten" (cuts) are sort of a parallel universe.
It's stated explicitely that their nature is topological,
also the term "Calabi-Yau manifold" is dropped.
Unluckily this *means* absolutely nothing, they could
as well be the fever dream of Nietzsche on his death bed
and nothing would change for the plot.
Here is a more general remark from Hauke written after the release of a new work by Dath which will also not be getting its own entry in this database:
Math, specifically category theory, is a recurring theme in the oeuvre
of Dietmar Dath, and you hardly will find a work of him lacking it.
Unfortunately (for this site), many times it rather has decorative than plot character and thus only a selection of works is listed here. If you are
interested in more, start at his German Wiki page.